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As Texans, when we think about August, a few things typically come to mind: sweltering heat and back to school. But there’s more to August than triple-digit heat waves and kids’ return to school.

August is National Immunization Awareness Month—an opportunity for Texas hospitals and other health care providers to focus on the importance of immunization for Texans of all ages. 

In 2012, about 60 percent of American adults didn’t know what vaccinations they needed, and many believed that immunizations were just for children. Immunization rates have improved in recent years, but outbreaks of diseases such as measles, whooping cough and influenza still occur. 

Here in Texas just last April, we had the highest incidence of mumps in 22 years. 

Vaccines are some of the most effective and safe public health tools available. For children born in the U.S. from 1994 through 2013, vaccinations will prevent an estimated 332 million illnesses, 21 million hospitalizations and 732,000 deaths over the course of their lifetimes.

Those of us privileged to work in the hospital and health care industries recognize the importance of vaccination, but it takes more than acknowledgment to affect change. As part of our duty to member hospitals and as public health advocates, the Texas Hospital Association will lead a month-long social media campaign to improve immunization awareness and, ultimately, increase the number of Texans with up-to-date immunizations.  

THA encourages all hospital employees to participate on social media, stay up-to-date on recommended shots and recruit those near to us—friends, family, colleagues, patients and community members—to be change agents as well.

Immunization awareness and immunization practice are shared responsibilities. It takes a village to defend a village. Vaccinations are robust defenses and save lives, so let others know. Learn more at THA’s NIAM Resource Web page

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